SkyCell, headquartered in Zurich, a tech firm striving to transform worldwide pharmaceutical logistics, revealed its successful acquisition of $57M (equivalent to approximately €53.51M) in a recent funding round.
The funding was provided by Catalyst, a division of M&G Investments’ $6 billion purpose-driven private assets strategy. Catalyst specializes in investing in privately-owned global enterprises dedicated to addressing environmental and social challenges.
Transforming Worldwide Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Operations
SkyCell tackles the global issue of securing access to safe medications with its Hybrid container concept. Its end-to-end solutions safeguard pharmaceuticals from extreme temperatures (-30°C to +70°C) and significantly decrease the industry’s product loss caused by temperature excursions.
According to a statement from SkyCell, ensuring secure access to medicines is a global challenge, resulting in a yearly loss of $35 billion worth of products due to temperature fluctuations in the supply chain.
Manufactured in Switzerland, SkyCell asserts that its containers demonstrate an exceptionally low failure rate, standing at less than 0.1%, in contrast to the industry’s range of 2-12%.
The company also highlights that its lightweight design and increased payload efficiency contribute to a reduction in CO2 emissions by up to 50%. This provides a sustainable solution for the pharmaceutical industry, which accounts for 4.4% of global emissions.
Established in 2013 by Richard Ettl and Nico Ross, SkyCell strives to become the premier sustainability collaborator for the pharmaceutical supply chain. They leverage their platform to forecast CO2 impact, optimize routes for sustainability, and ensure real-time monitoring of global shipments.
Utilizing an automated approval system has drastically reduced the time required for quality approvals from 14 days to a matter of hours, ensuring swift delivery of vital medications to consumers.
As a climate-neutral enterprise that offsets emissions, SkyCell aspires to achieve end-to-end net-zero status by 2040, aligning with the Paris Agreement and UN sustainable development goals.
Endorsed by the top 20 pharmaceutical companies, the company ranks as the third global leader in temperature-controlled air freight solutions. It has received investments from partners such as Lazard Asset Management, MVM, ADQ, and SHUAA Capital.
SkyCell plans to utilize the funds to bolster its global presence following substantial growth—showcasing a compound growth rate of over 55% in the past three years.
The company’s objective is to expand container availability by elevating production and extending its global service center network. This expansion aims to ensure swift customer service within 24 hours directly from their manufacturing hubs across the globe.
Additionally, SkyCell plays a pivotal role in steering pharmaceutical companies away from disposable solutions, contributing to the industry’s progression towards a carbon-neutral pharmaceutical supply chain.
Presently, the company transports over $1.5 billion worth of pharmaceutical goods monthly, facilitating the delivery of crucial treatments like vaccines, cancer therapies, diabetes care, and diagnostic solutions to patients worldwide.
Co-founder Ettl expressed, “We are pleased to welcome M&G as a long-term partner as we continue our rapid global expansion. Safe and reliable cold chain supply presents a critical challenge for the global pharmaceutical industry, especially with the swift growth of temperature-sensitive biologics medicine.”
“Moreover, the broader industry has set ambitious targets towards achieving net-zero emissions, which necessitates addressing supply chain concerns. Currently, over 70% of pharmaceuticals worldwide are transported using disposable solutions. This significantly impacts CO2 emissions and landfill waste, and we anticipate increased regulatory pressure in the form of import taxes to address this issue.”
“SkyCell’s containers reduce up to 50% of CO2 emissions in comparison to traditional cold chain containers and minimize waste that ends up in landfills. With this new investment, we aim to expedite our growth trajectory and fortify our global presence,” Ettl added.
Enhancing the Leadership Team
SkyCell has reinforced its management team by appointing Dr. Remo Gerber, the former COO of aviation pioneer Lilium, as its Chief Financial Officer.
Dr. Gerber, bringing with him a background from McKinsey & Co, holds leadership experience in rapidly growing enterprises like Gett, a ride-hailing company, where he served as the MD for Western Europe, and Groupon, where he held the position of COO for Northern Europe.
Moreover, Praveg Patil from M&G’s Catalyst team has joined SkyCell’s board as a non-executive director.
Reflecting on the investment, Patil commented, “We believe that the innovative design of the SkyCell solution will play a vital role in decarbonizing the pharmaceutical supply chain and ensuring zero waste.”
“From an impact perspective, this investment covers two crucial thematic areas for Catalyst – climate solutions and healthcare, providing our investors with exposure to the promising growth potential of high-end biological pharmaceutical products.”